On May 17th publishing giant Elsevier announced it had acquired the Social Science Research Network (SSRN). This potentially marks a major change in scholarly communications landscape and is the first time a large academic publisher has stepped into the repository landscape. The stated benefits of this change include potential integration with existing platforms such as Scopus and the Mendely - another relatively recent purchase by Elsevier. Of course not all the stated benefits are quite so revolutionary. For example, there was never a barrier to linking "...working papers to their published versions with direct forwarding links" regardless of the system. For Elsevier, part of the payoff could certainly be the extended their control of the scholarly communication ecosystem by further solidifying a userbase which will now engage with Elsevier for publishing, pre-print archiving and sharing, scholar profiles, and analytics. Of course what has generated the most discussion is that they also stand to obtain a lot of data from SSRN about works, use, and scholarly communities.
"Elsevier is right to focus on collecting more if it, monetizing it, and selling it back to Universities. After all, the model of taking all the labor of academics, packaging it up and then selling it back to Universities and academics has worked really really well for them in the past." (http://savageminds.org/2016/05/18/its-the-data-stupid-what-elseviers-pur...)
While SSRN users might not expect any immediate changes, it is worth noting that there are alternatives for Windsor researchers looking for a platform to share research. Since launching Scholarship at UWindsor in 2012, the Leddy Library has had the capability to host, preserve and provide open access to working papers and preprints from Windsor faculty as well as peer reviewed accepted manuscripts of published works. This research is easily shareable and widely discoverable through Google and Google Scholar. Scholarship at UWindsor also provides a range of metrics and reports for users in the Author Dashboard along with a connection to Altmetrics. The library is also here to help and support faculty members and departments in getting the most out of the repository. This provides a strong alternative for researchers who might be looking for new options. To learn more about Scholarship at UWindsor please contact your librarian or Dave Johnston, firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more info on Scholarship at UWindsor and Open Access check out:
There are quite a few discussions that have emerged following this news for interested readers. Below is a small sample, but a little digging on the web will certainly reveal more.